Law Offices of Hugo Pina
Experienced Immigration And Criminal Defense Lawyers Serving South Texas
McAllen 956-320-2241 Harlingen 956-421-5900

Make sure you get the green light at your green card interview

When you arrived in Texas to prepare for your wedding, you were likely a bundle of nerves. Although you were probably excited that your dreams were coming true, you may also have had reservations regarding all the challenges that lied ahead, such as adapting to life in the United States, becoming fluent in the English language, and facing any questions you might get regarding the fact that you are an immigrant and your soon-to-be spouse is a U.S. citizen.

With a few deep breaths and a lot of love, support and help from your family and friends, you wedding day was even better than you imagined it would be. Now, your nervousness is arising again because you've been told to prepare for a special interview that will determine your visa status.

Why is it so important?

Your green card interview is crucial because it determines whether you may seek a permanent adjustment of status since marrying a U.S. citizen. However, if your interviewer suspects your marriage is fraudulent for any reason, you may have to appear at a second interview, called a Stokes interview. This is why it's important to make a good impression the first time around. Here are some key facts and information that may help you prepare for your green card meeting:

  • One thing you do not want is to be late for your green card interview. In fact, it's typically best to arrive as much as a half hour early.
  • Your green card interview is not the appropriate time for flaunting your favorite sweat pants or cut-off jeans. Treat the interview as though you are applying for a very important job; dress conservatively, and on the formal side.
  • Your green card interview probably won't last long, but your answers to the questions are extremely crucial to your outcome; therefore, you'll want to pay close attention to everything your interview says and answer as clearly and concisely as possible.
  • It's never a good idea to lie to to pretend you know an answer to a particular question if you don't. It's better to be forthright and admit you do not know an answer rather than make things up or appear as though you are being nonchalant.
  • If your interviewer wants information that involve particular dates, and your memory is not clear, you may look at any documents you bring with you (and you should bring any and all that pertain to your immigration status) to clarify your answers.
  • If your interviewer separates you from your spouse to continue questioning you apart from one another, it may be a sign that he or she suspects your marriage is a fraud.

Many of the questions you may have to answer will be highly personal in nature. For instance, it's not uncommon for a green card interviewer to ask you what your spouse usually likes to eat for breakfast, what time you both typically go to bed at night or what your spouse's cell phone number is. These are considered questions that most average spouses would be able to answer about each other.

If a problem arises

Hopefully, all will go well and you will be allowed to apply for your green card. If not, immigration may not necessarily deny your status adjustment, but may require you to appear at a secondary interview to prove your marriage is valid and sincere. 

Many Texas immigrants secure legal representation before heading to their Stokes interviews. This is one of the easiest ways to protect your rights and access immediate support when needed. 

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